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Getting your Money Back From A Private Seller

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Nov 2012 |
 
Money Seller Refund Purchase Claim

If you have bought something from a private individual (i.e. not a business) you do not have the same redress as you do if you bought as a consumer. Therefore, if you have bought something second-hand from a classified advertisement that you saw in the newspaper, and didn’t check it properly before paying for it, you would not be able to claim a refund.

A private seller only needs to sell you something ‘as described’. If, however, this is not the case you should contact them as soon as you realise the problem and ask them to rectify the situation. Explain that by virtue of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 the law is on your side. Try to negotiate and be as reasonable as possible.

How To Get A Refund

Telephone contact may not achieve the desired results so the next thing to do is write a letter to them, stating the reasons in full as to why your money should be refunded and give them a timescale within which you expect them to have given you a refund. Specify how you would like your money refunded, for example, in cash or by cheque (although remember you don’t want them to send cash by post.)

If you refund request is in relation to an item, be sure to keep the item and its packaging if necessary. If letters have had no effect, and you have provided the seller with adequate time and opportunity to refund your money, lodge a claim at court.

Depending on the size of the amount you are owed, you could lodge a claim in either the small claims court (claims under £5000) or the county court. Bear in mind, though, that suing may be ineffective if you are pursuing someone who does not have any money!

That means that, even if you go to the effort and expense of court proceedings and are successful, you could send bailiffs in and still not receive your money back. If the person is either made bankrupt, or petitions for their own bankruptcy, you should ensure that you lodge your interest in the estate is lodged with the firm dealing with the bankruptcy. Although this doesn’t guarantee that you will recover all your money, you should get something back.

Private Sellers On Ebay

If you have bought something from Ebay you will be able to find out whether you are purchasing from a business or a private individual by going to the ‘Meet The Seller’ section in the top right hand corner of the listing. However, if you pay through Paypal there are certain procedures that will protect you in the event that there is a problem with your purchase.

There is Buyer Protection for items purchased on Ebay (there will be an emblem on the listing that shows this) and a Buyer Complaint Policy (for all other items.) Paypal will be able to help you if you did not receive your item, or if the item is not significantly as described.

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